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Mobile Game Development News

Europe's Carphone Warehouse charged with 'ageism'

LONDON -- Some people just don't understand the Internet.

At least that was the explanation given by Carphone Warehouse, Europe's largest mobile phone retailer, after representatives told an elderly woman to return to the store with another family member before signing her contract for Talk Talk, the company's broadband Internet service.

Shirley Greening-Jackson, 75, who had attempted to sign up for the service, told the British Broadcasting Corp.'s Radio 4 she was "absolutely furious" with the company, which she accused of practicing "ageism."

The company denied the charge, although it did say representatives could refuse service to customers who did not appear to understand the contract, no matter what their age.

"No policy exists to refuse business from adult customers of any age group," said Alexandra Bell, a spokeswoman for The Carphone Warehouse Group PLC. "However, we do ask our sales agents outside of the stores to make sure customers of all ages fully understand the process of changing telephone company."

Texas company brings networking to casual games

AUSTIN, Texas -- Big Fish Games Inc., a developer and publisher of casual games, is taking a page out of the social-networking handbook.

A service the company launched Wednesday lets users create their own Web site to write and share game reviews and earn rewards in a referral program. It takes the community aspects of popular sites like MySpace.com and tunes it for a crowd of casual gamers, who are mostly older women, said Paul Thelen, Big Fish's chief executive.

"Our users are more interested in having a presence online, but they would rather be anonymous," Thelen said. "What we think is exciting about this is that it is a hobby. This is what people do already, and this is a very passionate crowd."

Visitors to my.bigfishgames.com can sign up for free and customize the look and feel of their Web site. They will be eligible for cash rewards in a program described by company officials as a self-sustaining network of friends referring friends.

For example, a player who refers a friend will receive a 25 percent commission on any game the friend buys at the Big Fish site. In addition, the original player will get another 25 percent from the sales of games on any personal Big Fish sites created by friends of friends.

The games, such as "Diner Dash 2" and "Dream Vacation Solitaire," generally cost about $20 to buy and download.

Next month, the Seattle-based company plans to let players donate to charities any cash earned in the referral program.

Casual games -- a genre loosely describing simpler games that can be played in short spurts or for long stretches -- are expected to post worldwide revenues of $953 million this year, up from $713 million last year, according to DFC Intelligence.

Wired puts readers up to the wiki challenge

NEW YORK -- Wired News readers are getting a chance to shape the news: For an article about wiki collaboration software, anyone may contribute using, what else?, a wiki.

The online news outlet challenged readers to edit a 1,059-word article just like an editor would.

The writer, Ryan Singel, has even posted interview notes and conducted additional research in response to questions raised by the community.

Over the past week, the story has gone through more than 300 drafts, doubling in size as one reader conducted her own interview and added quotes, wiki vendors added references to their offerings, and others contributed additional examples to support the premise.

Singel said the experiment has gone smoothly so far, devoid of the pranks and vandalism he had feared when Wired opened up the story to changes. With wikis, anyone may change, add or even delete passages, regardless of expertise.

But Singel doesn't believe the community can ever replace professional editors: Large groups can't easily agree on what parts to cut out, nor are they always careful about style.

"The original story had a bit more of a narrative flow, art to it," he said. "The additional information detracts from that a little bit. ... There are still portions that feel a little like a manual or a primer."

Wired editors plan to release a final version Thursday after editors vet the story for style and glaring errors, Singel said.

News organizations have tried collaborative articles before. Esquire magazine ran a similar experiment on a story about the open encyclopedia Wikipedia.

The Los Angeles Times also briefly opened its editorials to public editing, but suspended it after being flooded with foul language and pornography.

Samsung display device adapts to the sunlight

SEOUL, South Korea -- When the sun shines, mobile phone users frequently seek out shade to see their display.

Samsung Electronics Co. wants to help solve that problem.

The leading maker of displays said Wednesday it has developed a device to sense the brightness of ambient light and adjust the image so viewers can see what's being shown more easily while outdoors. When indoors, the sensor dims the display's backlight to save power.

Samsung, which expects growth in mobile displays from the proliferation of mobile phones, digital music players and other portable electronics, said it would begin mass production of the technology by the end of the year.

-- The Associated Press

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